“People said: ‘Rafael Nadal will never win at Wimbledon, on hard, it’ll be complicated too’” – French Open director marvels at Spaniard’s evolution

Rafael Nadal won the Wimbledon in 2008; PHOTOS: GETTY
Rafael Nadal won the Wimbledon in 2008; PHOTOS: GETTY

Former WTA star and current French Open director Amelie Mauresmo recently marveled at Rafael Nadal's evolution as a tennis player. The Spaniard won the French Open men's singles title in 2005 to open his account at the Majors.

Nadal made his professional debut on the court in 2001 and participated at Wimbledon in 2003 - the first Grand Slam campaign of his career. He reached as far as the third round in London that year.

Two years later in 2005, he stepped inside Stade Roland Garros for the first time as a participant and the rest is history. He claimed the French Open glory that year and, notably, for the next three years as well to stamp his authority on clay.

As Amelie Mauresmo recalls, however, the Spaniard's credentials on other surfaces didn't impress people as much. But Nadal proved everyone wrong by reaching consecutive Wimbledon finals in 2006 and 2007 before laying his hands on the coveted trophy in 2008.

"At the time, it was 2005, people said: “This guy, he [Rafael Nadal] will never win at Wimbledon, on hard, it will be complicated too, etc”. And the way he has evolved his game is absolutely remarkable," Mauresmo told Eurosport recently.

Interestingly, the Spaniard faced no one but Roger Federer in the three aforementioned finals at Centre Court. He lost 6-0, 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 6-3 in 2006, 7-6(7), 4-6, 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-2 in 2007, and won 6-4, 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-7(8), 9-7 in 2008. Nadal championed the tournament again in 2010 by overcoming Tomas Berdych 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 in the summit clash.

Nadal also has six hardcourt Grand Slam titles under his belt as he has won the Australian Open two times and the US Open four times thus far.


"Rafael Nadal had this intelligence, that all his staff had this intelligence to evolve" - Amelie Mauresmo on Spaniard's French Open record

Amelie Mauresmo during a press conference; PHOTO: GETTY
Amelie Mauresmo during a press conference; PHOTO: GETTY

In the same interview, Amelie Mauresmo further praised Rafael Nadal and his team members for their tennis acumen that helped the Spaniard secure a staggering 14 titles at the French Open.

"To win so much here, it's because he had this intelligence, that all his staff had this intelligence to evolve when you're not moving forward. He always had that in mind, despite the fact that he was winning," Mauresmo added.

Notably, Nadal is set to start his 2024 French Open campaign against Alexander Zverev on Sunday, May 26.

About Amelie Mauresmo, she has been in the director's chair at Roland Garros since 2021. Also, the Frenchwoman became a two-time Grand Slam champion and World No. 1 in women's singles during her professional tennis career between 1993 and 2009.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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